The crowd out on roads during Diwali perhaps thought that presence of large number of people could kill the coronavirus, said Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar while hitting out at those who flouting Covid-19 rules during the festive season that has led to surge in infections. He further said that the government will review the situation for the next eight to 10 days and will then take a decision on lockdown.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray too expressed displeasure over residents not taking precautions, warning that a second wave of virus would "almost be like tsunami". "We will need 25 crore doses of vaccine whenever it comes," he said, adding that till then only three solutions are available i.e. masks, social distancing and hand hygiene.
"During Diwali, huge crowds were witnessed as if people on streets could kill the virus. The situation was same even at the time of Ganesha Chaturthi. Now there are predications that a second wave may hit the state. We are speaking to relevant departments. We'll review the situation for next 8-10 days and then the further decision will be taken about the lockdown," Pawar was quoted as saying by ANI.
Thackeray, however, said that he doesn't believe in bringing about laws and want people to take responsibility. "I am being advised to impose night curfew. But I don't believe in bringing about laws. People should themselves take precautions," he said.
The deputy CM further said that the government has made a lot of regulations to start schools, which includes methods of sanitisation. The state government has allowed reopening of schools for classes 9 to 12 from Monday depending on the Covid-19 situation in local areas.
Pawar's statement comes at a time when there are speculations that the state may suspend train and flight operations to and from Delhi in view of the rising coronavirus cases in the national capital. Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have already made virus test compulsory for those entering the states from Delhi.
"Various measures are being discussed in order to curb the virus spread in the state, and suspension of train and flight operations to and from Delhi is one of them," Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar was quoted as saying by PTI. "However, no decision has been taken so far on this," he added.
Maharashtra on Saturday reported 5,760 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the count of infections to 17,74,455, a health department official said. Mumbai city reported 1,093 fresh cases, pushing the cumulative count to 2,74,579 while the number of fatalities mounted by 17 to 10,656.